It’s Australia’s most recognisable building, famous the world over, a true icon of the Harbour City, appearing in countless postcards, fridge magnets and Hollywood movies. But until March 5, 2022, the Sydney Opera House was not deemed a landmark. Well, not in any official sense, that is. However, that has all changed, thanks to newly received recognition from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The SOH now joins a roster of other official landmarks that include the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Machu Picchu and the Panama Canal, as well as the celebrity scollop-shelled building’s nearest neighbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
While it might seem a little strange that such an architectural superstar should be receiving official landmark recognition almost half a century after it opened, that’s not to say the Opera House hasn’t already scooped plenty of important laurels. Bennelong Point’s pearly sails were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. Prior to that, in 2003, the building scored architecture’s most prestigious award, the Pritzker Prize, awarded to the building’s original architect Jørn Utzon, just five years before his death in 2008.
The Opera House’s latest gong was the result of an exhaustive application process that took Engineers Australia more than two years to complete. The landmark status recognises not just the building’s design merits but also the boundary-breaking engineering that was required to construct it.